Alaska Credit Union Insurance Policy Information
Alaska Credit Union Insurance. Credit unions are non-profit financial institutions owned by their members, who are often a group of people with a common interest such as membership in a trade union or alumni association. Credit unions were originally formed to provide low-interest loans to their members. These members deposit money and have ongoing access to their funds through ATMs, checks, or electronic means. They have the right to close their accounts and withdraw or transfer their money to another financial institution.
Credit unions earn income from interest charged on loans, profits from investments, and transaction fees. They may offer financial planning or investment services. To maintain public confidence in the industry, credit unions are highly regulated at the federal and state level. The regulations change frequently so additional operations may be added as permitted.
Many Americans are choosing credit unions for their financial needs over traditional banks. Unlike banks, which are owned by large corporations, credit unions are owned by the members of the institution. As such, whatever profits a credit union does make goes back to the institution itself to improve the services that their members receive, or the funds are invested in the community. Additionally, credit union members enjoy lower fees and better rates on savings than traditional financial institutions provide.
Despite the numerous benefits that AK credit unions offer, there are risks associated with this type of financial institution. Since they hold the money of their members, it's the job of a credit union to protect those funds. Despite the best efforts of credit union operators to provide exceptional services and to protect the interests of their members, unforeseen problems can arise. Therefore, it's important that you take the necessary precautions to protect your credit union and the members it serves. What's the best way to do that? - By carrying the right type of Alaska credit union insurance coverage.
Alaska credit union insurance protects your member-owned business from lawsuits with rates as low as $67/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Why Do Credit Union Need Insurance?
When it comes to money, problems are always a possibility. A credit union could be robbed, for example, and members' money could be stolen. A fire could erupt, damaging the structure that the credit union operates out of. A member could trip, fall, and suffer an injury while making a deposit. An employee could be injured while working. These are just some of the problems that could arise.
When unforeseen problems do arise, you will be held liable. Your liability means that you are responsible for covering the cost of any losses, damages, or injuries that may occur; the cost of which could be excessive. To avoid having to pay for these expenses out of your own pocket, investing in the right type of Alaska credit union insurance is important.
What Type Of Insurance Do Credit Unions Require?
There are several forms of insurance coverage that a credit union should invest in. Examples of policies that these financial institutions should carry include the following:
- NCUA Insurance - This type of insurance is backed by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). The NCUA is associated with the federal government, but it is an independent agency. NCUA insured credit unions protect up to $250,000 of their members deposits. This type of insurance coverage is crucial, as it certifies that should anything go wrong with the deposits that are made in your financial institution - a theft, for example - those deposits will be protected by the federal government.
- Excess Insurance - With excess insurance, your members' deposits will be protected beyond the $250,000 that NCUA insurance offers. Should members have amounts that are higher than $250,000 deposited in your credit union, excess insurance will guarantee they are covered from losses above the NCUA limit.
- Commercial Property - In addition to protecting your members' money, it's also important to protect the commercial space that a credit union operates out of. Commercial property insurance protects the structure of the credit union, as well as the contents that are housed within it, such as inventory, supplies, and equipment. This type of policy provides protection against acts of nature, such as fires, storms, and fallen trees, as well as acts of vandalism, such as graffiti or broken windows.
- Commercial General Liability - If member or a vendor slips and falls on the credit union's property, or if someone claims that an employee of the credit union damaged their property, commercial general liability insurance will protect you. This form of insurance protects you against third-party accidents and injuries; it pays for the cost of any legal fees, as well as damages that may be awarded.
- Workers' Compensation - If you have employees in almost any state - you'll also need to invest in workers' comp insurance. This form of coverage will cover the cost of any medical expenses and lost wages should an employee sustain a work-related injury or illness.
These are just some examples of the type of Alaska credit union insurance policies a credit union should invest in. The amount of coverage needed will vary and are dependent on the specifics of each individual AK credit union.
Alaska Federal Credit Union's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposure comes from slips and falls due to public access to the premises. As customer safety and security are very important, the credit union may have one or more armed security guards on duty while it is open. All employees must be trained in proper procedures during a holdup to minimize the possibility of violence to or kidnap of customers. Floors, stairs, and elevators need to be in good condition, with steps and uneven floor surfaces prominently marked.
The number of exits must be sufficient and well-marked, with backup lighting in the event of a power failure. Steps should have handrails, be well-lighted, marked, and in good repair. Parking lots and sidewalks need to be in good repair with snow and ice removed, and generally level and free of exposure to slips and falls. There should be security in the parking lot equal to or better than the surrounding area. If the business is open after dark, such as for access to ATM machines or deposit boxes, lighting must be adequate.
Personal injury exposure arises from breaches of customers' privacy and confidentiality of their financial records, discrimination in lending practices, and for allegations of assault and battery during the apprehension of suspected robbers. The use of closed-circuit camera systems prevents such incidents from evolving into a "he said / she said" situation. Employees must be trained to handle such situations properly.
Product liability exposure is very low as financial products sold to customers are intangible. There may be some minor exposure if the credit union sells items like tee shirts or advertising novelties or offers small gifts to customers as a reward for doing business with them.
Directors and officers exposure may be limited if the credit union is small and run by members. If operations are larger and operate more like a bank, the exposure increases as directors and officers are more likely to be sued for results of their decisions in times of economic downturn. Credit unions may offer investment advisory services, estate handling, management of individual and corporate trusts, employee pension funds, escrow fund gathering and other financial activities. Directors and officers can be sued if funds from any of these are mismanaged.
Errors and omissions exposure by accountants and auditors can cause significant loss. There must be checks and balances in place to quickly catch and fix errors that are made. The background and training of all professional-level employees must be thorough and continual to keep up-to-date with industry changes. Monitoring is necessary.
Workers compensation exposures are moderate due to the possibility of injury or death of guards, tellers, and managers during an armed robbery. Tellers should be separated from customers by barriers such as high counters. Those working with customers at walk-up or drive-in windows should be protected by bulletproof glass enclosures. As most work is done on computers, employees are exposed to eyestrain, neck strain, and repetitive motion injuries including and carpal tunnel syndrome. All workstations should be ergonomically designed to reduce the chance of such injuries.
Property exposures are primarily from fire due to the electrical wiring for computers, printers and other electronic office equipment, heating, and air conditioning systems. All wiring must meet current codes, be well maintained, and be adequate for the credit union's operations. Circuitry for electronic equipment may be easily damaged from smoke, water, and heat, which will result in a total loss even with a small fire.
The building and its contents can be damaged during burglaries, robberies, and vandalism. Appropriate security measures should be taken, including physical barriers to prevent entrance to the premises after hours and an alarm system that reports directly to a central station or the police department. Since regulations require that customers have access to their monies on deposit at all times, disaster planning for potential interruptions is vital. Extra expense coverage should be considered as the credit union must continue operations after a loss.
Crime exposures are primarily from employee dishonesty, either from the theft of cash or from the improper transfer of funds held for customers. Money and securities can be stolen during armed robbery and safe burglary. Credit unions need a Financial Institutions Bond to cover these exposures. Background checks should be conducted for anyone who will have access to the accounts.
There must be regular monitoring and auditing of the books by outside auditors to prevent and identify problems. All employees must take at least one continuous week of vacation a year. Safes, vaults, theft-proof cashier cages, guards, and watchpersons are needed to protect money. Tellers' drawers should be stripped regularly and money moved to the vault. Bank drops should be made throughout the day to prevent a large buildup of cash available to thieves.
Controls and programming to prevent computer fraud should be reviewed. Extortion is a growing concern due to the high value of assets held by credit unions.
Inland marine exposure is from accounts receivable for billings to customers, computers for tracking financial data, and valuable papers and records for customers' and regulatory information. Off-premises coverage should be considered for kiosks and self-standing cash machines in other stores. Duplicates of all data should be made and maintained and stored at a separate location for ease of restoration in the event of a loss.
Business auto exposures may be limited to hired and non-owned exposure for employees running errands. If the company provides vehicles to officers or key employees, policies should be in place for personal and permitted use of the vehicles. Any driver must have a valid driver's license and acceptable MVR. Vehicles must be well maintained with records kept in a central location.
Alaska Credit Union Insurance - The Bottom Line
To learn more about what type of Alaska credit union insurance you should carry and how much coverage you should have, speak with a trusted insurance broker.
Alaska Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
If you're an entrepreneur who is thinking about starting a business in Alaska, it's important to have a basic understanding of the state's overall economy before you set up shop. Regardless of how high-quality the products and services you are planning on offering may be, if the location where you open your organization doesn't offer a target market that your products and services will appeal to, chances of success are slim. Furthermore, if a workforce isn't available to support your business, you'll have a hard time staying afloat.
With that said, it's important for business-minded individuals who are thinking about starting a company in Alaska to familiarize themselves with the state's economy; it's also a good idea to have an understanding of the commercial insurance requirements.
Following is an overview of economic trends and commercial insurance policies that business owners are required to carry in The Last Frontier.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Alaska
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Alaska was 6.1% in December of 2019. While that's significantly higher than the national unemployment rate, which was 3.4% in December, 2019, it's lower than it was one year prior, when the rate of unemployment was 6.5% in December of 2018. Though the workforce is growing slower than it is in other states, economists do predict that the rate will continue to decline in the coming years.
Despite Alaska's remoteness and cold climate, it's actually a great start to start a business. According to the Tax Foundation, Alaska is the second most tax-friendly state for business owners in the United States, as there's no individual income tax or state sales tax. Additionally, Alaska has the second highest rate of new business owners, as well as the second highest percentage of available employees (as per 2016).
As in most states, the best spots to start a business in Alaska are the state's biggest cities and the surrounding areas. This includes Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks. Other key areas that are seeing a boost in business development in recent years include Homer, Sitka, Prudhoe Bay, and Ketchikan.
While there are several industries that are experiencing growth in The Last Frontier, specific sectors thrive more than others. Businesses that are related to the following industries are booming in AK:
- Fishing, which is also one of the largest contributors to the state's economy.
- Mining, which provides more than 4,500 jobs in Alaska.
- Petroleum, which is responsible for 34% of jobs in the state. In fact, Prudhoe Bay is North America's largest oil field.
- Tourism is the second largest private sector employer in the state. Each year, millions of people from around the globe travel to Alaska to marvel at the numerous natural wonders that can be found here.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Alaska
The Alaska Division of Insurance regulates insurance in AK. Alaska mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Alaska requires you to have worker's compensation insurance if you hire even one employee on a regular basis. This includes part-time employees, family members, minors, and immigrant employees. It is not required for independent contractors or domestic employees, though you should check to make sure any contractors you have are true contractors, and not employees.
Alaska also requires all business-owned vehicles to be covered by commercial auto insurance. Other types of business insurance that business owners should carry depend on the specific industry.
Additional Resources For Non-Profit Insurance
Find useful articles on business insurance for non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations, charities and associations.
- Animal Shelter & Pet Rescue
- Credit Union
- Fraternal Organization
- Labor Union
- Parent Teacher Organization
- Public Administration
- Social Work Services
For 501(c) Non-Profits - Directors And Officers Liability Insurance has become an increasingly important policy to have. D&O coverage protects insured directors or officers against claims involving allegations of wrongful acts occurring while performing their duties as such. The insurance is divided into two separate coverages:
Side A coverage reimburses the individual directors and officers for payments made for loss each has incurred because of wrongful acts.
Side B coverage reimburses the corporation for the payments it has made on behalf of the directors or officers themselves.
General Liability is a foundational policy for almost any business. Most companies do not have any control over the final cost of injuries to a person injured because of their operations, products, or services. The person injured may be a young child, a blue-collar worker, a surgeon, or a homeless person.
The cost of the injuries may be comparatively minor or run into the millions of dollars, depending on the person and the extent of his or her injuries. Do you have sufficient assets to pay such a loss?
Commercial general liability insurance is designed to help you protect your assets with three main coverages:
- Coverage A: Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability
- Coverage B: Personal and Advertising Injury Liability
- Coverage C: Medical Payments
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Building, Business Personal Property, Business Income and Extra Expense, Employee Dishonesty, Money and Securities, Computers, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Directors and Officers Liability, Employee Benefits, Professional, Umbrella, Hired and Non-owned Auto & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Earthquake, Equipment Breakdown, Flood, Computer Fraud, Forgery, Fine Arts, Musical Instruments, Commercial Articles Floater, Computers, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practices, Business Auto Liability and Physical Damage and Stop Gap Liability.
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Also learn about Alaska small business insurance requirements for general liability, business property, commercial auto & workers compensation including AK business insurance costs. Call us (907) 531-9001.